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Old 10-10-2010, 10:03 AM   #1
SFMCjohn OP
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Death Valley AMCA Rally, 10/4-7/10

Hi all,

My riding buddie, Kalle, just finished a 1948 Indian Cheif basket case, and had plans to head to Death Valley for the SoCal Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America's XXIV "Max Bubeck International Road Run."

"We're going to try to ride Titus Canyon ... you could bring your Triumph ..."

Ha. I've ridden Titus ... I knew Kalle was looking for a victim to help him pick up the [heavy] Indian when he dropped it in the deep gravel at the bottom of the canyon ... still, how much fun would it be to see old bikes ridden the way they used to be back in the day?


1973 Triumph Tiger 750 ... oil-in-frame, five speed, front disc brake.

Hey, the Tiger has rimlocks ... why not ride it in Death Valley?


Here's the route I wound up riding ... about 1300 miles ...

Kalle was trucking his bike down on Sunday ... I decided to try to ride down on Monday ...

The weather in Death Valley had been 117 degrees the week before ... I thought I'd ride the shortest route from San Francisco, over Tiaoga Pass, about 450 miles ...

I'd put a new rear tire on the Tiger, and replaced the solid state rectifier that had recently failed ... my mechanic, John Rios, wasn't happy with the charging system, and told me not to use the headlight ... hey, who needs a headlight, anyway?

So, off I went, into our first winter storm, worried about being too hot. Ha.

Shocked, I was, to see Tiaoga Pass "closed" due to snow. I went 50 miles up Sonora Pass before being turned around by snow, and finally made it up and over Ebbitts Pass, with an inch of snow and thunder and lightning over the top ... fun.

I got to Bishop an hour after dark, in the pouring rain, 12 hours after leaving the city ... but the bike was running like a top, and we seem to have fixed the charging system ...



The next day the roads were clear and dry ... it was still cool and cloudy, but the weather just got better as the day went on ... Kalle said the rally was leaving at 9 a.m. to ride to Scotty's Castle, so I planned to try to find them in Rhyolite or Beatty instead of trying to chase them ...


Overlooking the old bank in Rhyolite ...

No old bikes here ...


The Rhyolite cemetary ...

Not here ethier ... I was beginning to think I'd outsmarted myself by not chasing them to Scotty's Castle ... off to Beatty I moped, looking for gas ... I'd just finished filling up, looked up, and there was Kalle, along with three other old Indians, rolling into the gas station ... perfect!


Lunch here ... good food.

Three 1948 Cheifs and one 1928 Chief, ridden by Max Bubeck's son ...

Max Bubeck is now 93 years young, and we all got a chance to meet him at the rally ... he's in the AMA Hall of Fame and held a Bonnieville speed record for decades he set on an unfaired Indian.


Kalle's picture of the Indians playing on the playa before lunch ...

After lunch we started to head back to Furnace Creek, and began running into other bikes in the rally ...


Kalle on his 1948 Cheif at the entrance to Death Valley ...


The Cheifs at speed heading west towards DV from Beatty ...


This Indian has been shortened 10" from stock, check out how close the rear fender is to the motor ... no battery there!

We coasted on down into the valley to get some practice for the big coasting race set for Sunday down from Dante's View ... fun. We got into the Furnace Creek Ranch parking lot to look at the 30 or so bikes there for the rally ...


A boardtrack-racer inspired bike, built by "Kiwi" from parts he made or got from the aftermarket ...


An Indian Warrior, by Enfield, I think ...


On Wednesday morning it was off to Shoshone and places in between ... The Devil's Golf course ...


Dennis Magri's 1936 Indian Cheif that he just rode to Homer, Alaska, and back ...


A Harley-Davidson knuckle-head, and the only Harley at the rally, ridden by the gentleman who brought the "short" Indinan pictured above ... he was riding with his son and 15 year old grandson (on an XS650 they had just rescued) ... neat.


Another pre-WWII Cheif ...


The 1928 Indian Cheif ...


A Norton 750 fastback and a BSA ...


A clean example of the Vetter designed X-75 ...


A Matchless ...


The view from Dante's View ...

The good news was the weather was better ... the bad news was that the weather had caused a rock slide in Titus Canyon, and it was closed ...

Oh well, we'd have to ride Titus next year ... So, we had a big, non-rally endoursed, "outlaw" coasting race down from Dante's View ... apparently, the rally had gotten into trouble last year with the Rangers, who feel that coasting races are illegal ...

So we each put $5 into a kitty and started to coast down from the top, to the intersection with Greenwater Valley Road, where we stopped coasting and started the non-event from there ...


The Tiger coasted from the top, stopped once, and started coasting again, all the way into the parking lot space at the hotel, about 20 miles. Ha.

The kitty was won by an Indian Cheif that had blown the motor the day before ... it was trucked to the top, and coasted down to First Place and a big "outlaw" trophy ...


Sunset in Death Valley ...

We had a big banquet to finish the rally, and I won the "Long-Distance Rider" trophy for riding about 650 miles to get to the event ... I think I was the only bike to ride to the rally, but I was also on one of the newest bikes ...

Kalle won a trophy for learning how to adjust and maintain his points in Shoshone ...

The next day, Thursday, we left early so we could try to get to the San Francisco Motorcycle Club meeting on Thursday night ... I really wanted to try to ride the old Tiger from Death Valley to San Francisco in a day ...

I got to Gillroy at dark, and turned on the headlight and got about fifteen minutes down the road when the bike died ... I turned off the headlight, and it roared to life again ... got off 101 in the pitch dark and road along the streets a few miles on the shoulder 'till I got to a motel in Morgan Hill ...

The next morning I was sure the Tiger would get me home ... I had coffee at Alice's Restaurant and on a whim decided to take Route 1 home, so I headed for Half Moon Bay ...

The Tiger died in Half Moon Bay, even with the headlight off, but just 100 yards from the Napa Auto Parts ... where the nice gentlemen let me put the battery on the charger, no charge. Ha.



And after an hour on the charger, the Tiger purred all the way into town., Yay.

It's a great bike, and lots o' fun in the twisties ... we go about 60 or 70 miles per hour, and I did a couple of 12 hour days ...

And it was lots of fun meeting Max, and seeing all the old bikes being loved and ridden ...

So, hopefully next year I'll be picking up Indians in Titus Canyon ... we'll see.

There's a few more pics and a RR here.

Waive as you pass me!
-- SFMCjohn
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SFMCjohn screwed with this post 10-10-2010 at 11:23 AM
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Old 10-10-2010, 10:15 AM   #2
crazydrummerdude
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Excellent!

I recently coasted down from Dantes View.. in my truck. Wish I was on a bike. I was coasting in my truck behind a Harley who was NOT coasting, and I considered passing him. Man, the guy was going slow!
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Old 10-10-2010, 11:27 AM   #3
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Coasting ...

Hi crazydrummerdude,

Yes, it's a fun coast ... the grandfather who was riding the knuckle-head Harley was riding it fast ... there were about ten of us following a minivan along the road to Shoshone when he roared past all of us and the minivan on his hard-tail ... fun. We all had to try to keep up, of course ...

See you out there,
-- SFMCjohn
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Old 10-10-2010, 01:57 PM   #4
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Hey John. It's BMW Billy that hangs out at the club sometimes. MAN! It's nice to see those old bikes being put thorough their paces! Sounds like fun except for the rain. Except for that super rare warm rain, I have never much cared for riding in it! Dirt biking in the rain is another story! The dry lake bed photo is awesome. So is the sunset photo. Among others!
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:30 PM   #5
dlrides
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Nice pics of riding old bikes !


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Old 10-11-2010, 05:34 AM   #6
larryboy
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Nice ride, John!!

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Old 10-11-2010, 11:44 AM   #7
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Fun ride ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by supershaft
Hey John. It's BMW Billy that hangs out at the club sometimes. MAN! It's nice to see those old bikes being put thorough their paces! Sounds like fun except for the rain. Except for that super rare warm rain, I have never much cared for riding in it! Dirt biking in the rain is another story! The dry lake bed photo is awesome. So is the sunset photo. Among others!
Hi Billy! Great to hear from you; I'm learning a lot by reading all your posts in Old's Cool! Great stuff ... Hope to see you soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlrides
Nice pics of riding old bikes !
Thanks, dlrides, I'm trying to get better at taking more pics ... always sorry when I get home that I didn't make more of an effort to use the camera ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryboy
Nice ride, John!!
Hi Rob!

Kalle and I had a lot of fun, and learned a lot from the guys in the AMCA about keeping our bikes running well ... I enjoyed your most recent RR, and hope we'll see another RR from your traditional Thanksgiving Death Valley epic DV ride that seems to be upcoming ...

Wave as you pass me!
-- SFMCjohn
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:51 AM   #8
kallehof
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Nice pics ...
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:24 PM   #9
groop
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Excellent report. You really should cross post in RR if you haven't already.
Hope to catch the rally next year
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